Criminal Behaviour

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What is a criminal personality?
•Impulsive, no feelings of guilt, self
important.
•BUT ALMOST ALL ADULTS HAVE BROKEN THE
LAW AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES –
therefore we can’t ALL be criminals!!! This is a
problem when defining the criminal
personality.
What are the problems with
defining a crime?
• Can’t define a crime, e.g. drink driving is not
illegal in Tobago
• Statistics tell us how many crimes have been
committed not how many criminals there are
(100 crimes may have been committed by 1
person)
• Victims don’t always report crimes
BIOLOGICAL THEORY – says these parts of brain are
dysfunctional in criminals.
pre
Temporal
lobe
Limbic
system
Limitations of the Biological Theory of Criminal Behaviour
Problem
Because
Therefore
No criminal gene
Can’t be one gene that
accounts for rape AND
speeding!!
Crimes are very different
and speeding is not a crime
in some countries.
Brain dysfunction
Not always genetic, some
times caused by illness or
accident
Therefore crime may be
due to brain dysfunction but
not to genetics
Facial features
Not all criminals have them,
some non criminals have
them
Maybe society is prejudice
against certain looks which
turns people to crime
Ignores Social
learning theory
Doesn’t mention that you
can learnt to be a criminal
from your family
This is why crime runs in
families not because of
genes.
It is hard to believe that
the same gene is
responsible for rape and
fraud
Brain dysfunction is only
evident in some criminals
Society might be prejudice
to certain looks (e.g. low
sloping forehead, glinty
eyes) which is why these
people end up turning to
crime
Everyone has at least one
of the facial features of
criminals but we’re not all
criminals
If you parents are
criminals you may LEARN
to be a criminal from them
Adoption studies have
shown a link between non
biological families and
crime
Critics have argues there
can’t be only one gene
that accounts for all the
different types of crime
Brain dysfunction isnt
always genetic
Brain dysfunction can be
caused by head injury not
genes.
Genes can be the same
across different cultures
but crimes are not (e.g.
euthanasia is a crime in
some countries but not in
others)
Biological theory ignores
social influence as a
cause of criminal
behaviour
You can learn to steal
Mr Hayden looks like a
criminal but he isn’t one.
Miss Baynes doesn’t look
like a criminal but she has
several ASBO’s.
Peter Sutcliffe was an
infamous serial killer and
rapist but he looks really
nice.
Illness can lead to brain
dysfunction.
Social Learning Theory of Criminal
Behaviour
•
•
•
•
Criminal behaviour is LEARNT!
Observing and imitating
Copy role models
We imitate behaviours that we
see being rewarded
• Seeing a behaviour rewarded is
called VICARIOUS
REINFORCEMENT
• Therefore children will imitate
what they see in the media
Massacre at Columbine
Who/what is being
imitated? (role models, media
influences)
What vicarious
reinforcements are
there?(how do they see this behaviour
being rewarded?)
Pre-frontal cortexLimbic system
Amygdala
Corpus Callosum brain dysfunction genes
antisocial behaviour
sexual behaviour emotions
psychopaths
hemispheres
murderers
language/learning/memory
slower
aggressivepsychopaths
rape/fraud
euthanasia
illness/injury
asymmetrical face
facial features
punish/reward
‘prejudiced against mingers’
vicarious reinforcement
social learning theory
Describe the Social Learning Theory of
Criminal Behaviour
• http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/jam
es-bulger-suffered-multiple-fracturespathologist-reveals-twoyearold-had-42injuries-including-fractured-skull-jonathanfoster-reports-1503297.html
Learning Objectives
•
•
•
Describe Social Learning Theory (all)
Describe Mednick et al’s study (most)
Evaluate Mednick et al’s study (some)
Social Learning Theory of Criminal
Behaviour
•
•
•
•
Criminal behaviour is LEARNT!
Observing and imitating
Copy role models
We imitate behaviours that we
see being rewarded
• Seeing a behaviour rewarded is
called VICARIOUS
REINFORCEMENT
• Therefore children will imitate
what they see in the media
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imYvOgyU9oo
Explain why Robert Thompson killed Jamie
Bulger. Use social learning theory and the
key vocabulary linked to this theory.
(observe, imitate, reward, vicarious
reinforcement)
Core study: Mednick at al (1984)
Aim – Investigate the nature/nurture debate using an adoption study. Is criminal
behaviour genetic or learnt?
Procedure – Denmark, 4000 males born between 1924 and 1947 who had a criminal
record. Compared the records with biological parents and adopted parents.
Results –
• If bio parents were convicted of a crime, twice as likely to have criminal record
than adoptees who’s bio parents were not criminals.
• Men who’s adopted parents were criminals 14.7% chance they would be criminals
V’s Men’s who’s bio parents were criminals (but adopted were not) 20% chance.
• Siblings from criminals separated at birth and raised in non criminal families) 30%
both had criminal records
Conclusion
Strong genetic link. Can’t totally rule out social learning theory though as highest
chance of being criminal was when your bio parents were criminals and your
adopted parents (24% V’s 20%)
Limitations to Mednick!
• Criminal convictions are not reliable, not all
caught, wrongly convicted
• Adopted children spend time with bio family,
CONTAMINATION EFFECT – may have learnt
criminal behaviours then
• Gender bias – all men, not generalise finding
to women.
If biological parents were
convicted of a crime, twice as
likely to have criminal record
than adoptees who’s biological
parents were not criminals.
When they compared men who
biological parents were criminals and
men whose biological parents were
NOT criminals that were both
adopted into non criminal families,
they found that those with biological
criminal parents had double the
chance of getting criminal records.
Sam and Michael are brothers.
Their father is a mass murderer.
Sam was adopted by Mr
Cameron and Michael was
adopted by Mr Forteath. There
is a 30% chance they will both
end up being criminals.
Alex was raised by the
Beckhams and Tom by the
Royal family. They both
committed many crimes. Later
on they were reunited on the
Jerry Springer show and found
that they were the sons of Fred
and Rose West.
Jay’s biological father was a
dust bin man but he was
adopted by a flasher. The
chance that Jay will also be
arrested for flashing is 20%
Sam’s biological father was an
Elvis impersonator but he was
adopted by the Yorkshire
Ripper. There is only a 14.7%
chance that Sam will commit a
crime.
Men who’s adopted parents
were criminals 14.7% chance
they would be criminals V’s
Men’s who’s bio parents were
criminals (but adopted were
not) 20% chance.
If you get adopted by criminals
this has less of an impact than
if you are adopted by non
criminal but your biological
father is one!
(14.7% v’s 20%).
Siblings from criminals
separated at birth and raised in
non criminal families) 30% both
had criminal records
Brothers who had biological
criminal fathers but were
brought up in separate adopted
families had a 30% chance of
both committing crimes.
Josh’s father was a bank
robber. Liam’s father was a
dentist. Both Josh and Ben
were adopted into a normal
family. Josh had twice the
chance of getting a criminal
record compared to Liam.
Macca grew up to be a mad
axe murderer. Charlie grew up
to be a circus performer. Both
boys were adopted into normal
families but Macca’s biological
parents were criminals.
Charlies were not.
What is reliability?
If you repeated the study, would you get
the same results. If so we can say it is
reliable.
What is validity?
The extent to which you measure what you
wanted to measure.
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